When it comes to languages, they can be pretty tricky to navigate, especially when it comes to writing a language versus speaking and writing it down.
That being said, maybe you’re a smart person and you just want to intellectually stimulate your mind. I mean, we’re in a pandemic, and if you’re not doing a whole lot, on the upside, you can tell people that you learned a new language.
If you are doing a lot, language learning also has practical utility. Learning languages makes you more hireable because you have skills that not many others have. Sure, you all have all these amazing credentials but if the difference between you and the other candidate is that the other person can also speak a mixture of other languages, then sometimes you have to learn a new language or two.
Heck, maybe you want to learn a new language just for the fun of it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if someone makes fun of your decision, you can always point out the practical workplace utility card. Plus, you look smarter in the process, especially if you can switch between a dozen languages.
Language learning is a good way to go about making the most out of your time. If you wanted to learn a language quickly, I would recommend the following:
- Pick a fun language
- Pick a language that is similar to your existing one
- Prime it as a hobby or goal
Making Language Learning Fun
I’ll break this down further. If you pick a fun language, learning a new language won’t be as much of a chore. Maybe you want to look cool and cultured. Maybe you want to seem more attractive to the next person you meet. Heck, maybe you wanted to learn the language of your ancestors in an effort to rediscover your identity.
Picking a Language Similar To Your Current One
While we’re at it, maybe you chose to learn a language that is kind of similar to English. For example, there are random words in Spanish, Italian, and French that overlap with English. It makes language learning much easier than let’s say, learning an obscure language.
Prime it As a Hobby or Goal
Finally, you can prime it as a hobby or goal. If it’s a hobby, you can fall back onto language learning when you’re feeling sad and depressed, to keep your mind busy.
Furthermore, if you have a goal in mind with your language learning, then it makes the process easier. For example, maybe you like learning this specific language because you want to learn the language of your extended family or your partner’s family.
Maybe you’re just a big foodie and love one specific type of food (for example Italian food or Chinese food) and wanted to show appreciation to the culture by learning the language itself.
Either way, language learning is a fun hobby and a noble goal to strive towards.
Tips For Learning Quickly
Set a Small Goal First
To learn quickly, you’re going to need a goal as mentioned earlier. Maybe you want to sit down for maybe 5–10 minutes and open up one of those fun language learning apps.
When you’re done, you can call it a day — but as the days go by, you could gradually scale up the 5 minutes into 20 minutes (or something along those lines), before you know it, you are finding yourself spending more time than ever before.
Make It Addicting and Fun/Gamify It
Language learning apps are somewhat addicting and fun, almost like a videogame because there are often points and reminders to keep you busy.
Flashcards are also helpful in this regard since you can learn key phrases rather quickly. In other words, you can gamify the process so that it is fun.
Have Online Accountability Partners
You can meet others online who are also using the same strategies to learn the same language as you. They will help you keep practicing as accountability partners. Maybe you can use one of those online meeting platforms to experimentally speak to one another.
Through trial-and-error, you will feel more confident when you are eventually speaking to the people who actually speak the language.
Study Smart, Not Hard
Since you want to learn a language quickly, you need to learn the essential verbal phrases first instead of going for the basic grammar lessons. That way, you can walk out of the situation with more verbal comprehension than the dude who studied a textbook rigorously. Many languages have a million words, like our beloved English language, so it makes sense to study smart and not study hard.
You can always go back and learn the other stuff later.
With the beauty of the internet, you can hop onto YouTube and learn a new phrase or two. You can first focus on the verbalization aspect of the language first. In due time, you can go back and learn the other tidbits, but your priority is to speak a language quickly.
Overall, while it’s not always easy learning a new language, just remember: make the situation fun, pick a language similar to your own, and prime it as a hobby and goal. If you’re running out of time, aim for learning the verbal basic phrases of the language, use language apps, the internet, have an accountability partner, and study smart.